A very subdued episode of Mad Men this week might have been my least favorite entry of the season, but not one without some merits or a lack of quality.
The A-story this week is the departure of Megan from SCDP and she is doing so to pursue her abandoned dream of acting. Her success at SCDP seemed to just begin to take off, but she admits to both Don and Peggy that she has no interest in being there and is almost resentful of her chosen life. Her father planted the seeds last week and the show didn’t take much time to get her back on her chosen path. Jessica Pare is great again this week and she gets a lot to work with. From nervously having to say good bye to Peggy or terrifyingly tell Don her decision, Pare is great and seeing her open up with happiness as Don begins to slowly come down from the news is excellent.
Don seems mostly ok with the decision for most of the episode. But when Megan isn’t around he begins to be slowly break at the seams with sadness. I can’t imagine it will stay that way for long, as he will be away from Megan far more than he ever has since they got together. This can’t lead to good things for Don I imagine, whether it’s an even worse performance at work or an eventual affair, with all of this new free time; only time will tell. This could be a turning point we look back to for the couple when the season has run its course. Oh, and Don still doesn’t like The Beatles, but that was a good montage under their “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Pete was also a featured player this week and he isn’t any happier than he was a few weeks ago. He is back on the train and running into his old card playing friend, but it is his wife Beth that he becomes far more interested in. Later in the day after Pete disgustingly sends Beth’s cheating husband on his way, he is throwing himself at her when he gives her a ride home after Pete doesn’t come home. The two sleep together, but she wants to let this be it and cuts ties with Mr. Campbell. Still wallowing in sadness, Pete doesn’t let up though and makes a fool out of himself as he tries every which way to get her to hook up again. Pete has been on a downward trajectory this season as he devolves into a Don Draper of old, except with none of the Swagger. Why can’t Pete find happiness? Every look we have seen into his home life seems to be ideal and Trudy has constantly proven to be a model wife, Pete even gets a huge pick me up from Roger this week as he unbegrudgingly acknowledges Pete’s rise to prominence. And I feel like the show hasn’t given us enough to validate this fall for Pete; what is the driving factor? Just his unquenchable need to be the best? Maybe we will get more as the season goes on.
Peggy had a bit of disappointment with Megan leaving, but seemed to be mostly put out by having to put up with more of Don’s shit as he tries to get over Megan's departure. Seeing Don not gel with Peggy like he did Megan was an obvious enough result, but him trying to take it out on Peggy is almost just as obvious and Peggy isn’t having any of it. The most alarming bit from Peggy this week was a face she puts on after Stan completely marginalizes their job. I hope between that and Don continuing to bust her balls that she doesn’t think about leaving either.
The highlight of the episode might have been Ginsberg this week, as he delivered some much needed comedy to a rather dark episode. His lines about Megan quitting and the wardrobe habits of actors made me laugh quite a bit and I will take more of this every week.
While Mad Men might not have been my favorite this week, it might have had more plot development than any episode of the season. Megan leaving was a welcome curveball and one that will bring some of the missing tension in Don’s life so far this season. It’s great to see Don happy, but I can’t imagine that is going to last much longer. Pete keeps digging himself in a deeper hole and his bottom is far less enjoyable than Don’s, so here’s hoping he can find what he is looking for sooner rather than later. 2/3 of the way done and this is when the show usually puts it in to high gear and I can’t wait to see where the season ends up.
-I guess Pete quit driving school.
-Don’t put doubt in Pete’s mind; he is mad enough at the office.
-What was that look of disgust from Pete? Jealous he can’t be so happy?
-“Our we’ll make our own.” Yes, because everyone sounds like The Beatles Harry.
-Everybody likes Don.
-“It was there idea.”
-“I have no idea what’s going on out there.” At least he knows it.
-What is Megan up to here?
-Fell asleep on the train, eh?
-“You’re an awful driver.”
-How did they make Alexis Bledel look so old?
-Megan is in trouble.
-Bledel going to be Pete’s suburban mistress? At least once.
-Don is pathetic without Megan.
-“I’m listening to everything you say.”
-“I’m going to have a snack and go to bed.” She just needed to get some apparently.
-Applying for Broadway eh. Is off, off Broadway worth it?
-Wow, Megan really wants to get out of here.
-“I read a thirty page dossier that didn’t mention the words fake whipped cream.”
-“Just taste it.”
-Megan is in Peggy’s palm.
-Pete is a bit desperate for attention.
-Tell him while he’s half asleep, that will keep the rage down.
-Don is someone that isn’t really shaken by lies I feel.
-“No, lie to me.”
-Don is very self aware this episode. And supportive.
-Will Don’s eyes wander now that Megan isn’t there every waking hour?
-Jennifer Pare is playing that nervousness wonderfully.
-“Did he fire you, that son of a bitch!”
-“Do they always give you clothes, or do you have to use your own clothes?”
-I like Ginsberg. “15 dollars,” I like him even more.
-Oh no, Peggy, don’t you start doubting things too.
-Harry is certainly excited about Megan leaving.
-“Why do they get to decide what happens?”
-Where is Don going?
-Holy Shit, that is quite the omen, an empty elevator shaft.
-Look at Kenny dance!
-“Turn it off; it’s stabbing me in the heart.”
-Shit Pete, what are you doing?
-“I think she’s good at everything.”
-Joan seeing some symmetry here.
-“I’ll try to hold it together.”
-Don is already having less fun.
-“Don’t do that.”
-Where is that spark, Don? These two suck together.
-“You know what, you are not mad at me so shut up.”
-Pete is angry.
-Roger sees the impending trouble written on the wall.
-Will Don actually find The Beatles cool?
-Where is Don’s LSD to go with “Tomorrow Never Knows?”
-I guess The Beatles didn’t do it for him.